The Ruling Concerning One Who Repents From a Major Sin


Question :
Someone who perpetrated some major sins during his youth - sins that deserve Allah's curse - has now repented. He seeks explanation about a number of points:
1. He fears the effects of those sins may strike him even though their time has passed.
2. He fears the effect of his previous sins on his repentance and his uprightness.
3. Will he be held accountable for those sins, even though he has repented?
4. Would he have been cursed during the time he performed these acts of disobedience?
5. He did these things being ignorant of the punishments for them, so will he be pardoned for being ignorant of the gravity of the sins, even though he committed then in secret?

Answer :
The questioner - and everyone else for that matter - should know that Allah Almighty accepts repentance from that one who repents, no matter how great the sin. Allah Almighty said:
Say: O My servants who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
"Say: O My servants who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
Az-Zumar 39: 53.
This applies to those who repented.
And Allah Almighty says:
And those who invoke not other Ilah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse - and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. The torment will be doubled to him on the day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein disgrace; except those who repent and believe, and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
"And those who invoke not other Ilah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse - and whoever does this shall receive the punishment. The torment will be doubled to him on the day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein disgrace; except those who repent and believe, and do righteous deeds, for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
Al-Furqal 25: 68-70.
It is confirmed that the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him said that repentance obliterates whatever comes before it. He once narrated the story of a man - from a previous nation - who killed ninety-nine people. He went to a worshipper and asked if he could repent. The worshipper said, "I don't know any repentance for you." The man killed him, completing one-hundred. He then asked a scholar the same question, and he answered, And what comes between you and repentance?" He ordered the man to migrate to a land of righteous people: however, the man died on the way. When he died, the angels of mercy disputed with the angles of punishment. Allah Almighty sent to them an angel who was to judge between them in the matter. This angel said, "Measure the distance between the two lands (i.e., his homeland and the one he was migrating to); whichever one he is closer to is the one he belongs to." They measured the distance and found him to be closer to the land of the righteous people, so the angel of mercy took him. This man admitted to committing sins that definitely deserve Allah's curse, but he repented from them.
I say to the questioner:
I give you glad tidings, for when Allah Almighty knows that you have sincerely repented, He will accept your repentance. Allah Almighty says:
Allah accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and foolishness and repent soon afterwards; it is they to whom Allah will forgive.
"Allah accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and foolishness and repent soon afterwards; it is they to whom Allah will forgive."
An-Nisa' 4: 17.
And the meaning of His saying:
Repent soon afterwards
"Repent soon afterwards"
is before death comes, because Allah Almighty then says:
And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: Now I repent.
"And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: Now I repent."
An-Nisa' 4: 18.
Therefore, the questioner must continue and be steadfast in his repentance, not allowing the Shaytan to whisper to him that his repentance is not accepted or that he will be held accountable for the sins that he repented for.
However, if the sin has to do with the rights of a person, he must return the right to its owner, or otherwise seek his pardon. If he doesn't know whom he wronged or who inherits from that person if he has died, then he should give that person's right in charity to absolve him of that wrong.
For example, if he stole money from someone but later repented, he must return that property to its owner, if alive; to the owner's inheritors, if dead. if he doesn't know whom he stole from or if he forgot, then he should give that money in charity with the intention of giving it on behalf of the one whom the property belongs to, because the property could belong to the heirs of the original owner if he is dead.
The questioner said that the feared the continual ill effects of his sin. There is no reason to fear, however, because repentance wipes out and totally obliterates previous sins, so they have no effect whatsoever. Sometimes, a person even becomes better after repenting. After feeling fear and awe for Allah Almighty, he might have undergone a spiritual transformation or an increase in good deeds, which elevates him to a higher level than he was before. Have you seen Allah the Almighty's saying about Adam:
Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray. Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him with forgiveness, and gave him guidance
"Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray. Then his Lord chose him, and turned to him with forgiveness, and gave him guidance"
Ta Ha 20: 121-122.
He then asked whether he was cursed by Allah during the time he committed the acts of disobedience. We say that Allah's curse could either take place while one is committing the act of disobedience or the warranted punishment could be delayed in accordance with what Allah's will decreed for him and his wisdom. But we do know that if Allah Almighty accepts his curse means banishment and exclusion from His mercy, an whoever repents is within Allah's mercy.
He also said that he was ignorant of the punishment; ignorance of a punishment with the knowledge of its forbiddance, does not remove the punishment, either in matters of this world or in matters of the Hereafter. It is not an excuse for someone to say, "If I knew that this was the punishment, I wouldn't have done it." Such a person sins when he knows that he is doing something forbidden. Thus if a person commits adultery, and he knows that it is forbidden - and every adult sane Muslim he knows that it is forbidden - but he is ignorant of it punishment, his punishment is stoning if he has been married. Likewise, if someone has sexual intercourse with his wife during the day in Ramadhan while he is fasting and fasting is obligatory upon him, he will have to perform the prescribed atonement, even if he claims to be ignorant of the punishment. So if he says that he didn't know how hard the atonement is - freeing a slave, and if not able, fasting two months continuously, and if not able, feeding sixty poor people - he is still obligated to perform it.
The proof for this is that when a man came to the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him, saying that he had sexual intercourse with his wife during Ramadhan in the daytime, and he did not know what was required of him for that, the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him told him that it was required that he free a slave, if had none, then he must fast for sixty consecutive days, and if he was not able to do so then he must feed sixty poor people.
The point is that being ignorant of the punishment for a deed, with the knowledge that it is forbidden, does not absolve someone from its punishment.
Ibn 'Uthaimim



Tags : kabirah gunah, major sin, touba, repent, punishment, saza
 
 

This question is on 162 page in Fatawa Islamiyah book.


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